CFP: Opera and Society in the English-speaking World (5/15/03; e-journal)

full name / name of organization: 
Renee Dickason

CFP: Opera and Society in the English-speaking World (peer-reviewed LISA e-journal)


Opera and Society in the English-speaking World

Opera was born in the baroque era, when Europeans were especially interested
in the potentialities of the various forms of artistic expression and in
their possible combinations. This art form is sometimes considered as one of
the greatest achievements of the human mind, for it rests on a genuine
fusion of several arts. As it blends together music, poetry, dramatic
mimesis, and sometimes dance, the combined effect of which supposedly
transcends the sum of its parts, the operatic form can be defined as a true
Gesamtkunstwerk-a concept that was valid long before Wagner coined the word.
The aesthetic value of opera has often been the focus of scholarly research,
whereas it is only in recent decades that specialists have started to
investigate its social contexts.
According to the Grove Dictionary of Opera, the scholarly discipline that
might be called sociology of opera follows two lines of enquiry, which will
also be explored in this study of English and American opera, from Purcell
and Handel to Britten and Tippett.

1) Opera as the artistic bearer of a message of an ideological, political
and/or social nature
How can a specific opera or a particular operatic genre or sub-genre be
regarded as a vehicle for socio-cultural comments, especially if the message
is conveyed through means that are characteristic of opera as an art form?
More generally, how can an opera-especially but not exclusively in its
libretto-be considered as an emblem for or mirror of the socio-cultural
context of the time and place in which it was created? This line of research
assumes that opera is a revealing witness because, by the very nature of its
creative processes, the genre lends itself to the projection of the fears,
desires and conflicts at work within society.

2) Opera in its social context: production and consumption
This second line of investigation, which has attracted much more attention
from specialists up to now, is centred on the social, political and economic
dynamics which shape the destiny of opera in general and of specific works.
It is historically based and touches on both musicology and social history.
Particularly relevant topics are operatic production, consumption,
sponsorship and financing.

Please send your proposals by 15th May 2003.

Please contact :
Dr. Xavier Cervantes (e-mail : )
or Prof. Renée Dickason (e-mail :

LISA e-journal site :

Contributions accepted for this project will be reviewed by at least
two reviewers with the understanding that the materials have not been
submitted to another journal. All submissions should be double-spaced,
and conform to the MLA style. Articles should not exceed 20 pages (5,000
words) in length, excluding references. For other details, please check on
LISA e-journal 's web-site (
Please join a CV on separate sheets.

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Received on Mon Oct 28 2002 - 11:56:24 EST